To godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
and to brotherly kindness love
We come now to the seventh and final characteristic the believer should add to his faith. “Love” is the pinnacle of the pyramid of the seven building blocks.
The previous word, “brotherly kindness,” is the love of friendship or rapport love. The second word for “love” (agape) is divine, self-sacrificing, one-way love that is free to relate. We take his definition from a summary of the use of this term in the New Testament. We can see God’s unconditional love for those who did not love Him in John 3:16. His love was unconditional and based on His character, not on whether man would love Him back. Note how other passages us apape:
Jn 11:5, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”
Jn 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Ro 5:5, 8, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us….8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Ga 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Eph 2:4, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.”
When we walk in love, we do not hate others. We love them based on our character, not their character or actions. We do not allow bitterness, vindictiveness, or jealousy to control our thoughts and actions toward them. Thus, we are free to relate to them.
God wants us to progress in our Christian life toward the pinnacle of God’s love for others.
Now that we have come to the end of the seven characteristics that we are to add to our faith, how do you measure up? Can you go through these seven items and conclude that you pass the test of all seven? Grade yourself. Or, would you have to say, “I am deficient in this category? I flunked that course. I have not done so well in a couple of other areas. I am a spiritual dropout in these categories.” The remedy to this is “add to your faith….”
God expects us to progress in the faith, not to remain static in our Christian life. God has not graduated us yet. We need to continue to take courses in God’s school of the Christian life, especially the practice of loving others sacrificially. He will give us our final grade at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We cannot wait to start moving toward His kind of love. We will make a poor showing at the Judgment Seat if we do. We might have bombed the mid-term, but there is still time before the final grade by our Lord. Some of us may not have much time.